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Holiday and Meat-Free: Festive, Creamy Mushroom Lovers Pasta

Serves 4 as entrée, 6-8 as appetizer

Mix two varieties of mushrooms with kale in a creamy sauce and serve over pasta topped with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for a simply sensational vegetarian-friendly meal.


  • 1 small pouch dried porcini mushrooms (a handful)
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 package or about 3/4 pound crimini mushrooms (10 ounces), wiped clean, then thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bundle Tuscan kale, stemmed and shredded or chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 pound farro or whole grain short-cut pasta, such as strozzopretti, gemelli or penne
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


  1. Heat the dried mushrooms in the stock to reconstitute them, then puree in a food processor. In a saucepot, combine the porcini puree with the whole milk and cream and bring to a bubble. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the sauce thicken to coat a spoon.
  2. When the sauce begins to thicken up, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the EVOO, three turns of the pan, in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and brown for 12-15 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic, stir for 2-3 minutes more, then wilt in the kale and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste.
  4. Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta to al dente. Toss the pasta with the thickened mushroom sauce and mushroom-kale mixture. Serve immediately in shallow bowls topped with cheese.